A list of colleges that don’t take federal money

In order to preserve their freedom and independence.

The following colleges in the United States, in order to preserve their liberty and independence, do not accept grants from the federal government or participate in any federal financial-aid or student-loan program.

  1. Aletheia Christian College (Idaho)
  2. Bethlehem College & Seminary (Minnesota)
  3. Boyce College (Kentucky)
  4. Christendom College (Virginia)
  5. Crown College (Tennessee)
  6. Faith Bible College (Maine)
  7. Grove City College (Pennsylvania)
  8. Gutenberg College (Oregon)
  9. Hildegard College (California)
  10. Hillsdale College (Michigan)
  11. Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (Tennessee)
  12. Mount Liberty College (Utah)
  13. New College Franklin (Tennessee)
  14. New Saint Andrews College (Idaho)
  15. Patrick Henry College (Virginia)
  16. Pensacola Christian College (Florida)
  17. Principia College (Illinois)
  18. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kentucky)
  19. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Texas)
  20. Weimar University (California)
  21. Wyoming Catholic College (Wyoming)

Government aid comes with government strings, whether it goes directly to a school or directly to its students. To avoid these strings, a school must decline aid, both to itself and to its students, meaning it must decline to participate, or facilitate its students’ participation, in government funded or sponsored loan and grant programs.

Most of the schools on the list refuse state and local aid as well as federal.

The list only includes traditional bricks-and-mortar institutions (no online or purely digital entities).

To submit updates or corrections to this list, please contact us.

Updated: March 10, 2024.

Published: December 2, 2017.

Author: Dean Clancy.

81 Replies to “A list of colleges that don’t take federal money”

      1. Excellent suggestion Susan. Agree Prager U’s 5 minute free courses superior to 90% of college classes.

    1. This issue now is they have pulled the Veterans Affairs GI Bill (College) so now Veterans have to pay out of pocket to attend these colleges.

      1. Most of these schools find a private way to help veterans fund school. Because even a single student on GI Bill makes EVERY SINGLE government rule, regulation, and nonsense string applicable to the school. And there are thousands of schools that will allow GI Bill students.

  1. I would really like to see an engineering school that doesn’t take federal money and that doesn’t participate in the federal aid programs – I’m not wealthy, just comfortable after 50 plus years of engineering and would like to leave part or all of my estate to such a school –

      1. I echo that: Grove City College has excellent academics (including Engineering and other STEM programs), an amazing campus designed by the architect of Central Park and other Ivy League schools, and they don’t take any federal dollars. A hidden gem.

    1. Grove City College has one of the best engineering programs in the country. They offer Electrical, Mechanical, Management and Chemical Engineering programs. Their engineering graduates are sought after by companies all across the country. The school has NEVER accepted federal grants and, with Hillsdale, was part of a Supreme Court decision in 1984 that redefined Student Loans and Student grants as aid to the college – so the school raised a scholarship endowment from alumni and built a private lending program with a Pittsburgh bank. Jeff Prokovich leads the school’s development office and can help you if you are serious about gifting your estate to the school. He can reached at jdprokovich@gcc.edu

    2. I echo the others on this thread: Grove City College has tremendous academics, including engineering, as well as great graduate outcomes and a beautiful campus. I have come across several Grove City grads in my professional career and have always been impressed by them.

    3. Grove City college has an extraordinarily fine engineering program. You should contact the school to explore to your satisfaction what I’m mentioning.

    4. There is no such school. Texas A&M is the mot conservative option for engineering. It is highly ranked as a pure engineering school. However, they are susceptible because they do take federal money. There is a list of viable options at this link beatruamerican.com. If you insist on a school that doesn’t take federal money,, I would look at Grove City, then Principia, then Gutenberg, which is next door to the University of Oregon for auditing classes. Others do not offer specialization at the undergraduate level. To go to a STEM career, they like for their students to start with a liberal arts degree.

    5. I see your post is 3 years old. However, just in case you read this, I’d like to point out that Grove City College’s Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering programs were ranked in the top 100 in undergraduate studies in 2020 by U.S. News and World Reports. In 2017, the same program came 55th nationally. This small college is in the above list and does not accept federal aid money or allow the students to participate in student grant programs. Your donation would be much appreciated and much needed!

      Rankings for Grove City College and others have changed in 2021 in Niche, I’ve noticed. Spending a long day examining the reasons for these changes, I noticed that “Diversity” – which is its own category – is also a significant percentage in the rankings of everything from “Student Life” to “Academics” to “Professors.” It’s fair to have a Diversity category; it is not aboveboard to spread this ranking across so many of the other categories in a way that is hidden. It seems like schools are punished if they don’t go full out CRT. Anyway, if you notice low reviews on Niche (and possibly other sites) in 2021, I’d check back a few years and see how they scored.

      1. Just because they are checking for diversity doesn’t mean they’re “going all CRT”. It means it’s good for different kinds of people to learn to live and work together. It means there isn’t 1 elite race so stop acting like there is.

    6. Hillsdale doesn’t have an engineer ing program, but is a highly rated academic institution. It also offers needs based scholarships from their own funds to students. They don’t take a penny from fed or state.

    7. I have two sons who have graduated, or are about to graduate, from the Grove City College Department of Engineering. Both have had an amazing experience at GCC, playing on the lacrosse team and studying engineering. One son is already flourishing in his career, and the second son is set to begin work with a large, well-regarded company in about two months. My husband and I have been incredibly pleased and encouraged by Grove City College, and we prefer to give our donations there rather than our own alma mater, which has departed radically from the values we hold dear.

  2. I don’t know if they offer an engineering degree, but I am suprised to not see College of the Ozarks on this list: students at C of O do not take out student loans; they are required to work on staff while at school, and graduate debt-free.
    The school maintains a christian character and emphasizes service while learning.

    1. The College of the Ozarks does accept Federal money. Their tuition is about 19K, the work portion of that bill covers about a fourth of that. The rest of the money is split between federal and state student grants and award and the College’s scholarship. Basically the Cost of Education scholarship is a last dollar paid scholarship, it makes up any shortfall left over from state and federal grants/awards and money generated from working for the College.

    1. Government aid comes with government strings, whether it goes directly to a school or directly to its students. To avoid these strings, a school must decline aid both to itself and to its students. That is, it must decline to participate in government-sponsored student loan and grant programs. This is what the above-listed schools do.

      1. I wonder if someone could provide a list of the “strings” attached with government funding. When I try to explain it to others, I can only guess. I only know a couple – one of them being the government mandate for contraception being covered in the insurance of the employees. What other compromises does a college have to make?

    2. Title IX was adopted as part of the civil rights act of 1965. The original intent of Title IX was to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex in education. Like any Federal program run by unelected bureaucrats it has grown to encompass far more than was originally intended. The Justice Dept. provides a manual on understanding Title IX that runs to over 400 pages. Title IX now governs nearly every aspect of higher education from admissions to athletics – schools who withdraw from federal funding are free from Title IX compliance. They are not free to violate the Civil Rights act or any other law but they are free to operate their admissions policies, financial aid policies, hiring policies, athletic programs as they and their boards determine is in the best interest of their students NOT according to a one size fits all set of federal rules.

  3. check with Sattler University in Boston MA. it is a new start up that was offering free tuition last i knew.

  4. Congratulations to all on this list! It is heartwarming to see that liberty is flourishing in these small corners of our still somewhat free country.

  5. Just a point of clarification: these schools do not have to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act due to not receiving federal funding, right?

    1. The GI Bill does count as Federal funds, and are not accepted by most of these (Hillsdale is the only one I know for sure). However, State funding via the National Guard is accepted.

  6. Curious if there are any non government funded middle schools or high schools? And what laws regulate these levels?

  7. I don’t think Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA takes any federal funding, as well as Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.

    1. Thomas Aquinas College (Calif.) is frequently suggested as a candidate for this list, but it does not meet the definition. It declines campus-based federal financial aid but allows students to accept personal federal financial aid, which latter policy excludes it from our definition.

      Benedictine College (Kansas) is excluded from the definition because it both accepts campus-based federal financial aid and allows students to accept personal federal financial aid.

  8. Ralston College is a brand new addition to this list. Just read an article on FEE about it and checked the website.

  9. We need to constantly fight for liberty and freedom, I sure hope to see more schools on the list in the future. Thanks for your work and the information.

  10. Does anyone know how Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is like today? I was there from 2005-2009 and at that time it seemed pretty decent. I guess due to its nature they concentrate on STEM and to my knowledge there are no philosophical or political classes. Hope they didn’t change but they do accept federal funds.

  11. Since these colleges do not accept FAFSA said we cannot use 529 college savings through our employer to pay for tuition. Do you know how it’s recommended to save up for our kids education in case they choose to go to one of these schools? Our first is planning on studying computer science.

    Our employer will allow funds to be invested into any program approved by the US government for savings for children’s education. Other than a 529, some other options include things like an ESA/Coverdell, UGMA/UTMA, and possibly even IRAs, mutual funds and/or savings bonds.

  12. If I understand correctly these colleges do not accept FAFSA. I check this with the GA 529 college savings plan rep and she said we cannot use 529 (saved through our employer) to pay for college tuition of a college that does not accept FAFSA.

    Do you know how it’s recommended to save up for our kids education in case they choose to go to one of these schools? Our first is planning on studying computer science, starting is 2 1/2 years.
    Our employer says some other options include things like an ESA/Coverdell, UGMA/UTMA, and possibly even IRAs, mutual funds and/or savings bonds.

    This would be most helpful to know for us to prepare.

  13. It is apparent that most – if not all – the schools on this list have a religious affiliation. As such, the institutions are exempt from paying taxes, which is in a sense a benefit from the government. Furthermore, donors are likely deducting contributions from their individual or corporate tax liabilities – a direct benefit to the donors that indirectly benefits the schools.

    1. All of the students from these colleges will have PAID for their education. NONE of them will receive debt relief because none of their debts are from federal loans or grants, Brent. So…they are most definitely on the short end of the government handout.

    2. Fair enough, but I think most people would agree that those kinds of generic tax breaks do not come with government strings that rise to the level of infringing the schools’ freedom and independence.

  14. Since Hillsdale College has many charter schools throughout the United States of America, I believe Hillsdale is directly receiving funds from the Federal Department of Education.

    Hillsdale is a fine educational institution. It offers an education that prepares students to succeed outside of college and the ability to think for themselves. I know students that went to Hillsdale’s charter schools but did not have the money to send their kids to Hillsdale College. That was unfortunate, so please give money for scholarships to these colleges that do not accept federal funds, so that the best and the brightest minds have the opportunity to also receive an excellent education even if their parents can’t afford it.

  15. What do you know about Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, FL?? It seems like a place that wouldn’t take government funding but I can’t seem to find anything about whether they do or don’t take it.

  16. I can understand the rationale of colleges and universities that do not receive federal funding, because then they are not bound by all of the crazy rules and regulations (Title IX, forced curricula of African-American Studies, Queer Studies, Women’s Studies, transgenderism, etc.) imposed in exchange for the receipt of the funding. But then how are low-income students supposed to be able to afford tutions at these institutions which refuse federal funding? Don’t forget there are poor conservative people too.

    It also seems as if many of these institutions refusing federal funding are religious institutions. But there are also many conservative and moderate agnostics and atheists seeking higher education without Marxist brainwashing. It seems only fair one should not have to be brainwashed by Marxism or convert to a religion to receive a college education.

    1. Hello Jim.

      Some of the colleges on the list like Principia College and Hillsdale College have large endowments and donations from alumni which allows them to provide an elite education while providing large financial aid packages. Numerous other like the seminaries provide part time education with the intention that they work simultaneously. A few of the remaining colleges generally limit the cost of their programs, work with students to get private loans and generally refrain from offering STEM subjects which are expensive and usually have limited amenities on campus. Sometimes you do get what you pay for (Gutenberg College for example is housed in one building and has almost no amenities)

      I think the idea of separation of religion and state has been ingrained in our culture and since the left has been associated with atheism and large government, it is natural for conservatives who are also religious to have schools that reject the entanglement. I don’t think any progressive would have reservations over taking a government handout so that would stand to reason why there are no true left leaning colleges.

      I recommended Deep Springs College be added to the list because they appear not to accept federal funding. Still waiting to hear if they qualify. It is a California work college that is elite academically and may qualify as the only left leaning college that doesn’t accept federal funding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *